21 Guidelines for Year of the Engineer

January 1st 2017

What is a computer engineer?

A computer engineer, also called a software engineer, is responsible for developing, testing and evaluating the software that make our computers work. Source

These are the guidelines to which I hold myself in 2017.

  1. Do minimum one thing per day on the command line to be of benefit.
  2. Think through the problem in a calm, clear-headed fashion.
  3. Celebrate having solved a problem in a Stoic fashion (that is to say, be tranquil about the whole thing, but acknowledge having solved a problem).
  4. Acknowledge the work of engineers that came before me (if I don't know how best to acknowledge them, and they're living, ask).
  5. Look to other, stronger, engineers for guidance. While staying out of their way.
  6. Question everything unless the solution has been discovered. Even then, question everything.
  7. Do the work every day with as little interruption as possible.
  8. If something nags, fix it. If it can't be fixed, move elsewhere (somewhere where the nagging thing can't interrupt the work).
  9. Ask questions only in the smart way. Re-read the guide to doing so if necessary.
  10. The engineering work is supported by and impacted by the body. Do one hour of yoga daily, then stand at the standing desk as much as possible.
  11. Work with other engineers, more talented engineers.
  12. Get hired by a company to do engineering work with a team.
  13. Tinker as much as possible.
  14. Have something outside of the engineering world (for starters, yoga) to do when not doing work. (Adding: guitar.)
  15. Keep a public progress log.
  16. Always Be Curious.
  17. When thoughts stray from problem-solving, watch said thoughts. Bring the thoughts back to the problem-solving with awareness.
  18. Be sure to have the right tools for the job. When you find a tool that better suits the job, incorporate it.
  19. The more challenging the problem, the longer it'll take to solve (as a rule). Hang in there.
  20. When it's time, WTFM.
  21. Be okay with never being invited to another social event ever again. (But be well-adjusted if someone is kind enough to send an invite.)

Always wonder: how can this be improved from a programmatic perspective? What would an engineer think?

Updated 2019.07.29 to delete broken link (wtfm), add guitar.

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